Shymkent (Kazakh: Шымкент) is a city in the Kazakh Desert, and is the third largest city in Kazakhstan.

Get in

By plane

Shymkent International Airport (IATA: CIT) with flights to other Kazakh destinations, China, Russia and Turkey.

By bus

As of May 2010, there are overnight buses from Almaty's Sayran bus station that leave at roughly half hour intervals from 18:00-21:00 everyday. The journey takes approximately 12 hours, KZT2400 [update Aug 2012].

Overnight buses will arrive at the Samal bus station, 5km out from the city center. From there, you can take buses from 35tenge to 40tenge for a marshrutka to the center. Taxis to the center are also available for 300-400tenge.

Get around

You can take "gypsy cabs" for 300-400 tenge anywhere in the city. Bargain if they try to overcharge.

Busses run to and from the center and all of the microdistricts. The cost was 35 tenge as of 2011 but prices were set to rise and currently (March, 2014) is 50 tenge.

"Marshrutkas" are mini-busses that run largely the same routes as the busses. They cost 40 tenge as of 2011 but prices were set to rise. They can be very crowded during rush hour (e.g. standing room only, with low ceiling)



Mega: most popular youth hangout place in town, a mall with indoor skating rink, movie theater, Western-style chain grocery store and an upstairs food court. On Tauke-Khan avenue.

Spartak - awesome outdoor swimming pool, soccer field and basketball court. Across from Mega on Tauke-Khan avenue.

Movies: playing (mostly Western movies dubbed in Russian) on the top floor of Mega Center.

Babylon: arcade complex also on the top floor of Mega Center, complete with games and laser tag


Markets: Ayna Bazaar, good for buying food and random stuff (some clothes, Chinese electronics, burned CDs with Kazakh music, etc.). In a microregion a bit outside of town, but public transport regularly goes there. Koktem Bazaar is good for fresh produce and fruit. There are good souvenir shops in Park Ken Baba, on Tauke-Khan avenue. They sell stuffed camels, magnets, keychains, leather goods, plates and figurines.





+7-7252 is the area code for Shymkent.

Go next

Turkestan: the most famous Muslim site in Kazakhstan, with a beautiful mausoleum and brand new historical museum. Definitely a must-see if you're in the south for a few days.

Sairam mausoleums: you can take a taxi from Ordabasy Square to Sairam for 200-300 tenge. Stop to see the "SHYMKENT" Hollywood sign on your way!

Sauran ancient city ruins - you can book a private taxi from Shymkent, or take a taxi from Turkestan if you're already there.

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